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Seroepidemiology of human herpesvirus 6 in a population seen in the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Sera from healthy donors and patients stored over a period of 2 years, aged 1 to 83 years, were examined for reactivity to human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) by the standard indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Of the 600 serum specimens screened, 502 showed positive reactivity to HHV-6. This gives an overall seropositive rate of 83.7%. There is no significant difference in the overall positive rate between the ethnic groups (Chinese, Malays, Indians) (chi 2 = 0.35 df = 2 p > 0.05). However, there is significant difference in the positive rates at the extreme age groups of 1 year as well as 61 years and above. From birth up to below 1 year of age, the seroprevalence rate was 82%. At one year of age the positive rate decreased to 66% before gradually rising so that the percentage seropositivity of 6 to 10 years old becomes similar to that in older children and adults (11 to 40 years). The positive rate then starts to decline after 40 years of age. Using a standardized scoring system, the corresponding antibody titer was found to be high in the very young population and starts to decline after the age of 15 years. This suggests that in our population group, primary infection occurs mainly in the pediatric age group. It also accounts for the low positive rate in the age group of 61 years and above, as by then the titer had fallen to the level below the detection limits of the assay system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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